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Dragons: Just a Myth or Real Creatures?

Updated on November 7, 2014
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COULD DRAGONS BE REAL?

Probably one of the most popular and well-known mystical creatures is the dragon. It appears to be a magnificent animal that could only exist in myths and cinema, but what if they were real? I became intrigued with the possibilities of dragons actually existing as I realized there are so many cultures that believe and have accounts of dragons. They are also known throughout time; that does not seem like just a tall tale that has been circulated, for me it makes the stories become a reality.

What You Imagine or Believe

What do you think a dragon is?

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WHAT IS A DRAGON?

Photo credit: clker.com
Photo credit: clker.com

A New Perspective

Generally when we think of dragons we imagine a large reptile, with wings, that breathes fire. When you look up the definition of the word dragon you will get a similar description; some of which also include a serpent with enormous claws and teeth. However, after doing some research, I've found that a dragon can simply be a large monster or creature that might live under water, or have many heads, or walk on all fours, etc. If we look at the definition of a dragon from this perspective, then it is very easy to believe that dragons did and do exist.

DRAGONS NEAR AND FAR

Photo credit: rastrickict.co.uk
Photo credit: rastrickict.co.uk

Practically every culture has some variation of a story or belief in a dragon, even those that don't have many native reptiles, such as Ireland. Here are just a few of the different dragons that people believe in throughout the world.

Photo credit: www1.free-clipart.net
Photo credit: www1.free-clipart.net

The Americas

Dragons of the Americas usually tend to fit a similar description as the more commonly known dragons of Europe.

Palulukon, Amhuluk, Xiuhcoatl, Quetzlcoatl, Chac, Coatlcue, Bachue, Ihuaivulu

Amphisbaena
Amphisbaena

Africa

African dragons tend to be giant serpent-like beings, some of which even have multiple heads. The great details that goes into these dragons makes it hard to believe they are just made up from someone's imagination.

Amphisbaena, Aido Hwedo, Jaculus, Buto

Photo credit: clker.com
Photo credit: clker.com

Europe

The classic depiction of a dragon is found in Europe as the scaly reptile that flies, breathes fire, has large claws, and sometimes even horns or big ears. However, Greek Mythology has a variety of giant monsters that were considered dragons.

Agathos Daimon, Aspises, Basilisk, Guivre, Marakihau, Peist, Puk, Dracones, Cetea, Chimaera, Dracaenae

Oriental Dragon
Oriental Dragon

Middle East and Asia

These dragons are often described walking on all fours, believed to have paw-like feet, serpent bodies, often have beards and curled whiskers. Some researchers even believe that this type of dragon was created from a uniting of different totems, animals of significance, as different tribes joined together in China.

Ch'i-lung, Kiao, Fuku-Riu, Hai-Riyo, Horned Dragon, Lung, Palulukon, Tatsu, Naga, Vritra

What a Bunyip may look like
What a Bunyip may look like

Australia

Australian dragons, coming from Aboriginal mythology, are giant creatures of various types, but mainly amphibious or serpent creatures.

Bunyip, Australian Rainbow Serpent

Dragon Gifts

Which is your favorite?

HISTORY AND DRAGONS

Photo credit: clker.com
Photo credit: clker.com

Throughout history, from the very early times to modern day, the tales of dragons have stayed with us. The real question is were these myths or factual recordings?

Photo credit: ckler.com
Photo credit: ckler.com

Different Civilizations

There are depictions of dragons in Chinese culture in statues and other ornaments that date back to several thousands of years Before Christ. Egyptians also have stories as old at 3,000 B.C. about dragons. Although it is known to be mythology, the Greeks were writing about dragons around 800 B.C. The most well known era that stories of dragons came from was during the medieval times in Europe.

Dragon or Serpent of the Sea
Dragon or Serpent of the Sea

Dragons in the Bible

I was pretty amazed when I realized that dragons were mentioned in the Bible. True, most times it is used as an analogy, but there are some animals that were considered real dragons. The word dragon was actually translated from two words that were used in the original writings of the Bible to describe monstrous animals that were wolf-like animals, serpents, or even enormous sea creatures. One of these creatures is found in Psalms 74:13 where it says, "Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength: thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters." That time period being anywhere between 1000-400 B.C., when the book of Psalms was written.

Giant Lizards - Some could even fly
Giant Lizards - Some could even fly

Dinosaurs

It would seem to me that the monsters dragons tend to be the most similar to in legends are dinosaurs. Dinosaurs roamed the earth approximately 230 million years ago. They appear to entail almost every detail of what people would consider a dragon; a giant reptile, most having large teeth and claws, some that lived on land and in water, and others that could fly.

New Prehistoric Discoveries

Titanoboa

In recent years, there was a discovery of a snake fossil found in Columbia that was over 40 feet long. Scientists call this new species Titanoboa, meaning giant constrictor snake. It is the largest snake that has yet been discovered and lived around 60 million years ago. Within the same general area where Titanoboa was discovered, the remains of a 20 foot prehistoric crocodile were also found that lived around the same time period. I can see how some may have considered these animals to be certain types of dragons during this period of history, especially those who believed dragons were enormous serpents.

DRAGONS ON THE EARTH TODAY

Photo credit: openclipart.org
Photo credit: openclipart.org

N ot everyone believes in the Bible, others do not even believe dinosaurs existed, and also may think that dragon tales just spread from one country to another. Thus, let us take a look at some modern day dragons.

Komodo Dragon

These monstrous, muscular, lizards are carnivorous reptiles that reside in Indonesia. Their bacteria infected saliva will kill any animal that might have attempted to evade its jaws. They have actually lived on the earth for millions of years, but somehow were undiscovered by humans until around 100 years ago. Perhaps that is partially due to their uncanny ability to blend in with their surroundings. They can grow up to 10 feet in length and weigh over 300 hundred pounds, easily overpowering a human if they were to cross one's path. Other lizards also share the word dragon in their name such as Water Dragons, Frilled Dragons, or the Bearded Dragon, but none of them match the magnitude of this modern day dragon.

Croc Jumping out of Water
Croc Jumping out of Water

Salt Water Crocodile

There are many different types of crocodiles and alligators, cousin to the croc, found in various parts of the world. Amongst them, the Salt Water Crocodile is the largest of its kind. With a longer snout than their cousins the alligators, this supposed "man eater" can grow as large as 23 feet in length and weigh 2,000 pounds or more. You can find them around parts of Southeast Asia as well as Australia. Practically any animal can fall victim to this predator, as it uses its enormous jaws to snatch prey and pull them under water where it has the greatest advantage. They have large clawed toes, pointed scales running up their back, and can easily be camouflaged.

Alligator Gar

This massive creature, which looks like a combination of at least two animals, can weigh a whopping 300 to 400 pounds! Gar, the word meaning spear, have a long pointed snout similar to that of alligators and hard scales, but have the body of a giant fish. If eaten, the eggs of the gar are poisonous, but there have not yet been any other deathly hazards for humans from this enormous fish. These roam the waters of North & Central America. When living in the wild, they can grow to over 12 feet in length and some accounts have even recorded gar over 20 feet long.

Green Anaconda

The largest snake on the earth today, the Green Anaconda can reach lengths of 29 feet and weigh over 550 pound. This modern day monster serpent can remain completely under water while waiting for the precise moment to attack its prey. These gigantic snakes eat a variety of animals, even large wild cats, by squeezing the life out of their victims before swallowing them whole.

Goliath Tiger Fish

It is no surprise that they named this fish after the giant found in the Bible. Featured as one of the "13 Scariest Freshwater Animals" on National Geographic; some call it a monster piranha and others say it is a demon fish. The Goliath Tiger Fish can weigh around 110 pounds, is a meat eater with huge razor sharp teeth, a double hinged jaw, and is truly a frightening animal to behold. Scientists are intrigued by this fierce fish found in the Congo River of Africa and have discovered that they tend to hunt in packs. They have been known to eat humans, as they will devour almost anything in their path that has flesh.

Catching a GTF Video

Quite the catch for the River Monster fisherman. Great shot of this creature!

Photo credit: clker.com
Photo credit: clker.com

STILL A MYTH OR REAL AS EVER?

A re these dragons that we have on the earth today just a smaller adaptation of their ancestors, the dragons of their time, or is dragon just a common word we use for a certain type of reptile? Perhaps these stories are myths after all that just derived from a combination of species that already existed or maybe those animals really were dragons that we have not yet found. As no one has actually unveiled the true remains of a dragon, like those of the common cinema types we know today, there is no way of really knowing if these mythical creatures existed. However, after taking a look at these details do you find yourself questioning your views on the matter? I suppose it all goes back to what your definition is of a dragon.

Did this lens change your theories or confirm them? Do you believe dragons are myth or real?

Do You Believe?

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    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Very interesting hub rymom. It is interesting that almost every culture and civilization have believed in some form of dragon. This makes you think that they must exist in some form. You gave many good examples of what could be considered dragons today. Mythical creatures interest me and I have written a hub about Australian Creatures of Myth and Folklore. Voted up. p.s. thanks for the follow

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      I share your interest in dragons and have done some dragon hubs. I liked how you showed the dragons from various regions and discussed animals that have dragon-like features. You might want to look at my hub "Do Humans Have Dragon DNA? for an anthropologist's view of dragons.

    • mel-kav profile image

      mel-kav 3 years ago

      Very interesting lens. I totally enjoyed reading it. I think dragons were once very real, but I think they were probably a descendant of the dinosaur, that people gave mythical features to while storytelling.

    • profile image

      Aunt-Mollie 4 years ago

      Extremely interesting research. Yes, I think they did exist - so say the fossils.

    • spider11235813 profile image

      spider11235813 4 years ago

      Maybe dragons don't exist. That doesn't mean they won't. In about 15 years.

    • Rymom28 profile image
      Author

      Rymom28 5 years ago

      @fugeecat lm: Good point!

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 5 years ago

      I think it is possible they did exist at one point in time. Keep in mind mythes have some basis in truth somewhere.

    • Rymom28 profile image
      Author

      Rymom28 5 years ago

      @Rangoon House: Awesome! Thank you so much!

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      Well I am a Dragon in Chinese astrology! Congratulations for being featured in the Rocket Squid Ask-A-Question Challenge. Blessings.

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 5 years ago from Albany New York

      Interesting and well done lens. Good work!

    • Rymom28 profile image
      Author

      Rymom28 5 years ago

      @chas65: I can't make believer out of everyone, but appreciate you reading my lens.

    • Rymom28 profile image
      Author

      Rymom28 5 years ago

      @LoriBeninger: Very awesome!

    • intermarks profile image

      intermarks 5 years ago

      It is hard to tell unless I saw it with my own eyes. People have been discussion about dragon all the time, and it is still a myth to human.

    • chas65 profile image

      chas65 5 years ago

      Still think they are a myth.

    • LoriBeninger profile image

      LoriBeninger 5 years ago

      What a wonderfully presented lens! I was born in the Year of the Dragon, so of course I believe!

    • Rymom28 profile image
      Author

      Rymom28 5 years ago

      @raelcalu: I don't like lizards much either, but at least check out the Goliath Tiger Fish, it is quite the monster!

    • Rymom28 profile image
      Author

      Rymom28 5 years ago

      @Brandi Bush: Thank you!

    • raelcalu profile image

      raelcalu 5 years ago

      Nice lens, I believe dragons are real in the form of lizards...it only evolve into something fantastic and mystical because of the words that was spread out throughout time.

      I skipped the last part of your lens, I don't like lizards and reptiles.

      Thanks for the share.

    • Brandi Bush profile image

      Brandi 5 years ago from Maryland

      I'm not sure what I believe about dragons, but this is a very well written and organized lens. Kudos!

    • Rymom28 profile image
      Author

      Rymom28 5 years ago

      @Nanciajohnson: Really? Even after doing research for this lens I did not know that. If that is the case, then further proof dragons existed wouldn't you say?

    • Rymom28 profile image
      Author

      Rymom28 5 years ago

      @designsbyharriet: I think that is a good theory.

    • Rymom28 profile image
      Author

      Rymom28 5 years ago

      @anonymous: I agree, we still have so many discoveries to make!

    • MermaidDoc profile image

      MermaidDoc 5 years ago

      I think dragons are real, after all we have lizards in all shapes and sizes, why not a dragon in the past.......or perhaps in the future.

    • Nanciajohnson profile image

      Nancy Johnson 5 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      I also do believe dragons are real to a point in that like Kab stated, creatures such as dinosaurs and large reptiles and birds roamed the earth when it was young leaving behind hints of "giant" creatures. There are lizards today that can breath fire.

    • designsbyharriet profile image

      Harriet 5 years ago from Indiana

      What people may have called dragons in their day were probably some type of large scary animal that may be extinct today or may just have evolved into aless frightening animal.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I think most myths are based on some truth, so I think something dragon like must have existed.

    • lclchors profile image

      lclchors 5 years ago

      at one time yes

    • Rymom28 profile image
      Author

      Rymom28 5 years ago

      @kerbev: I think that is a really interesting theory, which could in deed be the the case. Although, something inside me holds on to the belief that dragons are real.

    • kerbev profile image

      kab 5 years ago from Upstate, NY

      I think that when the legends of dragons came about, people had to make guesses about some things. They also had to have a lot of blind faith. A person in Europe may have heard about these strange elephant creatures from a friend of a friend who once saw a tusk. They understood that there were many things out there in the world that they had never seen. And unknown = scary. Considering this, if a person found the remains of a dinosaur, they would not have any understanding of when the dinosaur died (archeology being what it was). They would fill in the blanks in the story and make the best guess they could .... dragon. I believe that dragons are a myth that came from trying to understand the strange dino bones - bones that were all over the world, bones that looked different in different places (hence different looking dragons).